Holyrood baby: Birthday wishes for Kirsty from MSPs
Holyrood wrote to all MSPs asking for their wishes for our Kirsty as she turned one
"I am fed up, after 40 years of being in politics, of the fact that child poverty, already high by any standard, is on the increase again. All the evidence shows that without putting hard cash in the pockets of poor people, we will never solve child poverty. We owe it to Kirsty and all children like her not just to reverse cuts to child tax credits but to guarantee a minimum income for all families living on or below the poverty line"
Alex Neil, SNP MSP
"Kirsty, it is my birthday wish for you that you grow up to see a Scotland you can be proud of. One where the same life choices are open to anyone regardless of background, and support is given to those most in need. We are living in turbulent times but if we politicians place our morals and consciences at the foundation of the decisions we take, we have the opportunity to make this happen for you and your generation"
Colin Beattie, SNP MSP
"My wish for Kirsty is that she will have the care and health education to help her avoid obesity in her early life, thus protecting her from type 2 diabetes, a disease that has already been diagnosed in pre-school children"
David Stewart, Scottish Labour MSP
"I came to parliament with one objective above all others – to give the next generation, Kirsty’s generation, the best possible chance of a long and healthy life. Health inequality is the greatest threat to Kirsty’s future; without a healthy body and mind, Kirsty won’t be able to make the most of her years in education and if she can’t do that then she’ll find life that much harder when she comes to enter the world of work.
"Tackling inequality is about early intervention and prevention. The more opportunities and advantages we can offer children when they’re young, the better chance they have of carrying good habits, like regular physical activity and healthy eating, into later life with all the benefits those habits bring. To close the health inequality gap, we have to close the opportunity gap and that’s why my ambition is to see every child have access to sport and activities like music, art and drama and ensure that every parent knows the importance of good nutrition and, crucially, has the skills to cook healthy, good value meals for their child. Kirsty’s life will be full of experiences beyond the control of her or of politicians, but if we can do one thing, it’s to give her the best chance of being able to deal with those experiences positively"
Brian Whittle, Scottish Conservative MSP
"Sadly, in your first year, Kirsty, despite all the rhetoric around housing, early years and education, far too many children like you are still living in poor housing or temporary accommodation, fuel and food poverty is on the rise, we have not seen the promised expansion of early years and there are teacher shortages as well as a failure to invest in teaching and learning, with large class sizes and not enough pupil support. So, on your birthday, I would remind all politicians that you need governments that will not just talk about doing something but actually do something."
Alex Rowley MSP, Scottish Labour deputy leader
"The first five years of a child’s life are crucial to their emotional, social and physical development and to the adult they will become – that is why understanding the need to invest in very young children is so important. We need to be able to deliver affordable, sustainable, flexible and, crucially, high-quality early education and care with targeted support for the neediest families"
Jeremy Balfour, Scottish Conservative MSP
"I am sorry that because Kirsty lives in one of our poorer communities, she is more likely to suffer from obesity, get cancer and have her life expectancy stalled. No one should have their life chances determined by their background and Scottish Labour’s plan to top-up child benefit would lift 30,000 children out of poverty by 2020, helping tackle health inequalities and making sure every child gets the best start in life"
Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour MSP
"Education can transform people’s lives and by the time Kirsty starts school in four years, I hope that schools in Scotland have enough investment to truly ensure that she gets the best start to her formal education. We need to get the basics right, enough teachers with enough time and resources to do the best job they can. As things stand, Kirsty could find herself in one of the biggest classes anywhere in the developed world. That is not good enough, and the sooner we start to correct it, the better"
Iain Gray, Scottish Labour MSP
"And to Kirsty, a very happy 1st birthday. You were born into one of the most eventful years we have seen politically, both here and abroad. There will be many more changes ahead for you as you grow in stature and confidence. My hope is that with another Scottish referendum we, as a nation, will have the full powers to ensure you have the support to continue to thrive"
Sandra White, SNP MSP
"Kirsty, what interesting political times you have been born into. Your first year has seen so much political change around the world, some good and some not so good, but here in Scotland, we are doing everything we can to make sure that you grow up in a safe, stable and socially just society. It is such a shame that you were born too early to get a baby box, however, any future siblings will receive one. The box is a gift from Scotland to all its bairns, making sure that every child, regardless of their circumstances, gets the best start in life"
Bruce Crawford, SNP MSP
"Sadly, babies like Kirsty from deprived areas will be more likely to smoke, experience mental health problems and have a shorter life expectancy and that is why the Scottish Conservatives’ Healthy Lifestyle Strategy focuses on prevention and on nutrition and physical activity in particular, to help tackle Scotland’s health inequalities and to make a real difference to the lives of children like Kirsty across Scotland"
Donald Cameron, Scottish Conservative MSP
"It has been an incredibly quick year since Kirsty was born, and it has certainly been eventful. Some would say a rollercoaster. However, the one thing that has remained consistent is the work the Scottish Government is doing to ensure Kirsty and all of her peers have the best chance in life – from making sure children have the best start in life with the baby boxes initiative and continuing to ensure a healthier future environment by building on our world leading innovative policies on climate change, the foundations towards ensuring Kirsty’s future are in place, and it’s now up to us all to build on them"
Angus MacDonald, SNP MSP
"Happy 1st birthday, Kirsty. We have seen many changes over the last year with plans of many more to come. Your siblings will benefit from the baby box and as you grow, you will have access to high quality nursery provision and improved schools with money to ensure you are supported in your education, which will be inclusive and will tackle all forms of bullying. You will benefit from a Scottish Government focused on making your world more equal and you will not be defined by your gender but by your ability and your achievements.
"You will thrive because we will legislate against poverty; we will support 30,000 apprentices; we will support your further or higher education and you will thrive because you will have a social security agency embedded in dignity and respect and you will be supported even if you do have two or more siblings in your family, confident that we would never comply with any abhorrent rape clause policy.
"Following on from the EU referendum, we live in uncertain times but I hope Brexit will not limit your chances to travel, live or study abroad and that the right-wing reprise will be short lived. I hope your rights will be protected by the Human Rights Act and by us remaining in the ECHR.
"But my greatest hope for you, Kirsty, is that you are loved by your parents, by your community and by your government"
Christina McKelvie, SNP MSP
"From my early days in the very first SNP government, I have championed the early years agenda and I launched the ‘Play, Talk, Read’ campaign with babies like Kirsty very much in mind. The campaign encourages parents to engage and stimulate their babies right from the start and I hope that Kirsty has had the benefit of that from her mum and dad who would also benefit from that kind of close engagement with their little girl.
"I also know that Kirsty’s mum did try to breastfeed and that’s really good because where mums are able to, breastfeeding will give babies like Kirsty the very best start in life and we should do all we can to encourage mums like Caley to do it"
Fiona Hyslop, SNP MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
"I want the best future for Kirsty, and indeed all children in Scotland, and a defining issue central to securing a prosperous future for Scotland, is the radical reduction of fuel poverty. I have published ambitious environment and climate change policy proposals on behalf of the Scottish Conservatives which would directly tackle fuel poverty, reduce living standards’ inequalities, and cut carbon emissions through a transformative change in the energy efficiency of our housing stock. Reducing fuel poverty will not only increase living standards and health for babies like Kirsty in the here and now, but also protect Scotland’s climate for the future"
Maurice Golden, Scottish Conservative MSP
"Sadly, families with young children like yours, Kirsty, are especially vulnerable to poverty, and many don’t realise they’re entitled to benefits, tax credits or other financial help. In September, I convinced the Health Secretary to roll out an income maximisation programme across NHS Scotland, to make sure all pregnant women and new families get the financial advice they need. Healthier, Wealthier Children has raised over £13m for families like yours over the last seven years, and some families gained over £3,000, all leading to a better start in life for all our babies" Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green MSP
"Happy Birthday, Kirsty. I’m determined to help build a Scotland where in 15+ years’ time and you’re looking for your first job, we will be living in a country where there is greater equality of opportunity, a real living wage for all, a determination to reward and value everyone’s contribution, and a Scottish Parliament equipped with all of the powers necessary to help your generation fulfil all of its potential"
Ben Macpherson, SNP MSP
Poverty is a common denominator in poor outcomes for children like Kirsty, the Holyrood baby
To celebrate our Holyrood baby's second birthday, we asked a group of MSPs about being parents and what advice they would have for Kirsty’s mum
What legislation, policy or initiatives have had an impact on Kirsty, the Holyrood baby during her second year?
Somehow, one day we woke up and you were no longer just a digestive system with vocal chords, but rather, an autonomous person in your own right